Notes: Andruw playing through pain
Center fielder dealing wth sore left elbow, but stays in lineup
PHILADELPHIA -- When the Braves return to Atlanta, Andruw Jones may request to have his ailing left elbow evaluated via an MRI exam. But because of the importance of the final two games of the current series against the Phillies, he has no immediate plans to take himself out of the lineup.
"It still hurts," Jones said of the elbow that he hyperextended while reaching over the outfield wall to rob a homer on May 27. "It's not going to go away until I get about two months of rest [in the offseason]."
Despite the fact that Jones had hit just .181 (13-for-72) in his previous 19 games entering Saturday, Braves manager Bobby Cox has provided no indication that he plans to rest the Gold Glove outfielder for even a brief period.
In fairness, Jones' struggles began long before he suffered the elbow ailment. Since the beginning of May, he's hit just .201. The only other Major Leaguer who has compiled at least 300 plate appearances during that span and collected a lower average is the Padres' Marcus Giles, with a .189 mark.
This week, Cox has attempted to hide Jones' offensive deficiencies, which extend beyond his .213 batting average. Over the course of the past four games, including Saturday night's, Jones has batted sixth against left-handed starters and seventh against right-handed starters.
With Jones moved toward the bottom of the lineup, the Braves might be able to capitalize on more run-scoring opportunities. Entering Saturday, he'd hit a team-worst .221 in the team-high 136 at-bats he'd had with runners in scoring position.
"It's been hurting me now for a while, but it's been affecting me more over the past month," said Jones, who served as the Braves primary cleanup hitter until Mark Teixeira's arrival. "It's one of those things you try to deal with."
When Jones received a cortisone shot on Aug. 3 and then missed the final two games of last weekend's series against the Rockies, there was hope that he'd find some relief and be able to produce during this current road trip against the Mets and Phillies.
Instead, he experienced only some initial numbness in the elbow and further frustration at the plate. Through his first 20 at-bats on this trip, he'd recorded just two hits and continued to leave runners stranded in clutch situations.
Jones grounded into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded on Wednesday night against Mets closer Billy Wagner, and on Friday, he left Jeff Francoeur stranded at second base with a weak grounder back to Phillies reliever Antonio Alfonseca.
"When you reach, that's when it hurts," Jones said. "You can't get much extension."
When Jones hit .385 with five homers during a 10-game stretch from July 6-19, he struck out just three times. In the miserable 19-game stretch that has followed, the .181 batting average he's produced has included 18 strikeouts.
"When I swing and miss, [my elbow] hurts," Jones said. "I just was making good contact [during the hot streak]."
Soriano remains confident: Over the past few weeks, Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell has instructed Rafael Soriano to compare the mechanics he displayed during the first 10 weeks of the season to those that he's shown over the past two months.
"It's just something small," Soriano said of the mechanical differences he's seen. "It's not a big deal."
In the 28 2/3 innings he compiled during his first 29 appearances of this season, Soriano posted a 2.20 ERA, surrendered two homers and converted each of his five save opportunities. Opponents hit .115 against him with a .229 slugging percentage and .167 on-base percentage.
In the 23 innings that he's completed in the 24 appearances that have followed, Soriano has posted a 5.87 ERA, surrendered eight homers, suffered three losses and blown each of his three save opportunities. Opponents have hit .290 against him with a .581 slugging percentage and .333 on-base percentage.
Moyer oddities: When Sunday's scheduled starter, Jamie Moyer, beat the Braves on May 25, it marked the 44-year-old southpaw's first win against them since May 23, 1987. It was determined the nearly exactly 20-year span between wins against a specific organization was the longest in Major League history.
Moyer has made eight career starts against the Braves and just four of those have come since 1988. Still, when Chipper Jones steps to the plate in Sunday's first inning, it will mark the first time that he's faced the veteran hurler.
As for Braves utility infielder Martin Prado, he's already 4-for-9 against Moyer in a big league career that includes just 17 hits and 73 at-bats. His lone homer and three of the nine career RBIs he's totaled have come against the crafty lefty.
Diaz's power surge: Matt Diaz's first-inning homer on Friday night was his fourth in his past six games. Diaz has just nine homers this season and a total of 18 in his 664 career at-bats.
Coming up: The Braves will conclude their three-game series against the Phillies on Sunday at 8:05 p.m. ET. They'll send Buddy Carlyle (7-3, 4.28 ERA) to the mound to oppose Moyer (10-8, 4.70).
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.